DRAFT TRADE: Traded to Charlotte Hornets in exchange for 2024 second-round pick
About Nick Richards
Nick Richards is a physical presence at the center position who emerged as one of the most improved players in all of college basketball as a junior at Kentucky. Born in Jamaica, Richards emerged as a prospect early in his career capping his senior year at The Patrick School (NJ) with appearances at the McDonald’s All-American Game, Jordan Brand Classic, and Nike Hoop Summit. Widely regarded as one of the top-20 prospects in the high school class of 2017, Richards was a key piece of a recruiting class that also featured Kevin Knox, PJ Washington, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Starting much of his freshman season under Head Coach John Calipari, he spent his sophomore season coming off the bench averaging 4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.
Turning the corner as a junior, Richards averaged 14 points and 7.8 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game to earn All-SEC 1st Team honors as he emerged as a difference maker on both ends.
- Possessing dimensions like few players in the NBA, Richards has elite size at 7-foot-0.5 with a strong 247-pound frame and a 7-foot-5 wingspan to go along with good explosiveness and mobility.
- Competing with dramatically improved confidence and consistency, Richards solidified himself as a lob threat, impactful rebounder, and even a serviceable back to the basket weapon as a junior. Doing much of his scoring diving to the rim, he did a far better job using his size than he did during the first two years of his career. Stilling fighting through some ups and downs, his performance in SEC play was encouraging.
- Doing a dramatically better job staying out of foul trouble some nights than others, Richards is still figuring out how to maximize his tools defensively, but nonetheless made an impact as a rim protector and showed impressive mobility sliding his feet on the perimeter for his size.
- With all the tools to be a difference maker inside, Richards made some strides on the defensive end as a junior. He is still very aggressive chasing blocks but showed more timing and ability to use verticality this season. Foul trouble remains an issue for him, but not nearly to the extent it was in years past.
- Allowing 0.59 points per post up possession [87th percentile] and 0.47 points per isolation possession [85th percentile], some of his most impressive moments came as an individual defender where his size is a constant factor and he shows the unique ability to get low and move his feet for a true 7-footer. His instincts and fundamentals remain a work in progress, but he has some unique building blocks—even among players that share his massive dimensions.
- 2019-20 All-SEC First Team and All-Defensive Team selection after averaging 13.4 minutes his first two seasons.
- 2019-20 All-District by the USBWA and NABC.
- Ranks third in Kentucky history in career field goal percentage (62.8).
- Averaged 14.0 points and a team-high 7.8 rebounds, up from 4.0 ppg and 3.3 rpg as a sophomore.
- Led the SEC in field goal percentage (64.4) and ranked second in blocked shots (2.13 bpg) and third in rebounds.
- Scored a career-high 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds vs. Mississippi State (Feb. 4).
- Blocked a career-high six shots to go with 10 points and 13 rebounds vs. Lamar (Nov. 24).
- Athletic, defensive-minded big man.
- Runs the floor exceptionally well.
- Very active in the paint at both ends.
- Sets effective screens and rolls hard to the rim.
- Loves soccer and lists Cristiano Ronaldo as his favorite athlete.
- Grew up in Jamaica before coming to the United States as a teenager to play high school basketball.
"Everybody has their own story. Just because I go to a school that’s known for one-and-done doesn’t mean I have to be one-and-done. It took me time to develop over the past three years. I’ve had the best time of my life. Meeting incredible people, having the best coaching staff in the world training me to be the player I am right now and to be a better player for times to come."
- Richards, on his time at Kentucky